Biden and first lady visit bedridden kids for Christmas

The first family will spend their first Christmas at the White House and New Year's Eve in Delaware, a break from their normal routine

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In an effort to spread some Christmas cheer, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Friday visited children confined to hospital.

First ladies traditionally visit Children's National Hospital at Christmastime, but Mr Biden's inclusion was both a pleasant and unexpected surprise.

Mr Biden’s attendance marked the first time that a sitting president had participated in these holiday festivities, the White House said.

The first lady gathered kids around the Christmas tree for a reading of Olaf's Night Before Christmas as the President sat and listened. Video of her reading will also be shown in patient rooms throughout the hospital.

US President Joe Biden visits with a patient at Children's National Hospital in Washington, on Christmas Eve. AP

Each child will also be gifted a copy of the book, courtesy of the Walt Disney Co., the White House said. Each book includes a White House bookmark designed by Ms Biden’s office.

The annual tradition of a hospital visit by the first lady dates to Bess Truman, who served as first lady from 1945-1953.

The Bidens will be spending the holiday at the White House with family, a departure from their normal routine of Christmas at home in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr Biden has referred to life on Pennsylvania Avenue as living in a “gilded cage” and prefers spending his weekends away or at their seaside home in Rehoboth Beach, which he has done over 20 times since taking office.

They will also forego their longstanding trip to St Croix in the US Virgin Islands for New Year’s Eve and instead ring in 2022 at one of the Delaware residences.

Updated: December 25, 2021, 6:45 AM